Ecological modernisation has evolved and shifted from a social theory to a political agenda that endeavours to tackle the environmental consequences of industrialisation. Drawing on primary information collected from interviews with provincial policy-makers, industrial managers and representatives of professional associations, the article analyses renewable energy deployment in two coastal provinces of China. Institutional configurations are also examined in order to understand whether coherent synergies between environmental and economic goals can be achieved. The article argues that the inteventionist, state-centric measures in the regional renewable energy sector represent a novel form of ecological modernisation distinguishable from the models that originated in Europe.